Page 29 - Fyne SUMMER2012-proof

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Crisis of the Euro, British economy back in
recession, worst unemployment for decades,
high inflation while many have their pay
frozen - and a government resolute in its
ideologically driven intention of massacring
our public services: a gloomy picture faces
everyone apart from the very rich. For
LGB&T people who still have jobs, at least
we can look forward to the right to marry
our loved ones – unless Cameron caves in
to the very noisy opposition before any law
is prepared (and it wasn’t in the Queen’s
Speech). It’s important to show the true
picture, that most people do actually agree
with this next step towards equality – so
the TUC hopes everyone reading this will
take the time to complete the consultation
questionnaire (on the Government
Equalities Office website) before it closes
on 14 June*. If President Obama can come
out in support of this in an election year, the
coalition should be able to get this through
without a problem.
There is one bright spot in the calendar.
World Pride in London, which culminates
in the parade on 7 July, will be a fabulous
celebration of our right to be ourselves and
a serious opportunity to show our support
for our LGBT sisters and brothers across the
world who don’t yet have the legal rights
that we have gained in the UK – though it
did cost us decades of struggle. The TUC
means to make a big splash at World Pride,
and is also sponsoring the international
conference that takes place on 4 July.
Once the dust has settled and the floats
have been dismantled, though, the same
old challenges will continue to face our
communities. The cuts in public spending
continue to eat away at our already tiny
funded voluntary sector, and this is going to
get worse, not better – that’s what ministers
tell us, and they should know. LGBT people
rely on the same public services as everyone
else, too, and further cuts loom everywhere.
Contrary to ministers, there is an alternative
– it’s called an approach that encourages
economic growth,
so more people
are in work (and
paying taxes)
rather than being
out of work
(and receiving
benefits), so
more people feel
able to spend their wages thus encouraging
further growth. All over Europe, people are
beginning to challenge their governments’
austerity and are supporting the “go for
growth” option. Even the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) has come out in
favour of a growth strategy.
The TUC has been advocating such
an approach since the beginning of the
recession. Reducing debt is self-defeating.
But despite two years of this failed strategy,
the Government refuses to budge.
We have to make them see that people no
longer agree with their arguments. When
even the police force is demonstrating
against government policy, it’s clear the
public mood is changing. So the TUC
is calling for a massive public protest in
London on 20 October. LGBT trade
unionists will be taking part in their
thousands – and would love to see many
more lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans
people join them. We need to tell Mr
Cameron that we want – and expect – equal
marriage, because it should be a right. But
we also want LGB&T people to have jobs
and public services.
So we say: come out on 7 July to show
the world that we support our sisters and
brothers everywhere: and come out on 20
October to show that LGB&T people in
Britain need jobs and services like everyone
else. Peter Purton
* For the TUC’s views on equal marriage,
visit our website,